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chinense dehydrating duration? 12 hrs, 1-2 days? chinense specifically

hey i hate doing this, because there is so much great info here. but i have some questions on how long to dehydrate my peppers, with an aim to making them into powder via electric coffee grinder.
 
my dehydrator (salton vitapro ~$50) says to do vegetables (sliced 1/4" thick unless otherwise noted) at 50-55C and the entry for "peppers, hot" notes desired texture as "leathery" and time as 4-16 hours.
 
on this website, searching "dehydrate, dehydrating, drying" terms shows a lot of the same threads, and the one with the most dehydrating info had people saying "up to 24 hrs at 135F", "1-2 days", "i've left them a week", "until totally brittle", "until they snap when you try to bend it", "until i can crush between my fingers".
 
non-essential info: my experience is limited only to the last two years, and 2 years ago i just dried a couple dozen pods in the oven for lack of any idea what to do after my first harvest. last year i got the aforementioned dehydrator, because i had real aspirations of making a nice spicy powder to use in cooking or sprinkle on dishes (which i did in jalapeno and hab varieties), and also because my s/o didn't really like the air in the kitchen after using the oven method.
 
so last year i did habs and jalapeno using the instructions i said above (left it on from evening til morning/noon, 10-15 hours each time), and within a few days ground the pieces to a powder using a krups electric grinder. i had more habs than my shaker would hold powder, so i refrained from grinding about a quarter of what i had dried and deposited the pieces an old washed-out spice container.
 
the shakers themselves i do usually have to shake or tap before shaking out over food. there is a very slight clumping i see through the glass bottles but it's also mostly out of habit, as i do the same to other spice shakers too just to prevent a huge mass of spice dumping out. also, the dried segments that i left in the large empty spice container show no sign of condensation/moisture/mold a year later. the pieces don't shake with a dry rattle sound, because i followed instructions that said leathery was the target and i didn't want to leave them too long in case the utter dryness would deplete flavour.
 
AN IMPORTANT FACT i should add is that i sliced the peppers into at least 6-8 pieces each before dehydrating, to make dry time quicker but mostly to assess which pods were fresh/good to use. and i am doing the same with my ghosts this year (18 pods dried 2 weeks ago, 42 more picked and about to go in), cutting normal sized ones into 8 and larger/smaller ones accordingly to be uniformly sized.
 
so my question is, am i doing this properly or did my machine instructions leave something out? should i be leaving them longer to dry, or are others just being overly thorough? or is it a matter of choice, maybe does flavour factor in somewhere as to how long to leave it (fresh/flowery vs dry/smoky)? i quite like the hab powder i have, and it tastes fresh and powerful and in no way seems spoiled by being too moist and a year old. do i just keep on the way i've been doing, or are there some accepted rules/guidelines that you guys obey regarding safety/stability/flavour?
 
 
I cannot offer any advice specific to dehydrating chiles, but i do want to say that i love everything about THP except for the search feature. I've had far better results going to Google and typing in my query followed by thehotpepper.com in the search bar. You get a lot more relevant results that way.
 

SmokenFire

Staff Member
Moderator
Business Member
Hello growyourown,
 
I dehydrate at around 100-105 degrees for as long as it takes for the peppers to be fully dry.  Usually I will halve or quarter larger, thicker walled peppers (jalapenos and such) and thin walled peppers like thai or fish peppers are left whole.  Dry times at that temp are 1-3 days for me usually.  I dry at that temp because I feel they retain better color and flavor and also because the seeds are still viable at those temps. 
 
If you are happy with your current methods do not change them.  :)
 
SmokenFire said:
Hello growyourown,
 
I dehydrate at around 100-105 degrees for as long as it takes for the peppers to be fully dry.  Usually I will halve or quarter larger, thicker walled peppers (jalapenos and such) and thin walled peppers like thai or fish peppers are left whole.  Dry times at that temp are 1-3 days for me usually.  I dry at that temp because I feel they retain better color and flavor and also because the seeds are still viable at those temps. 
 
If you are happy with your current methods do not change them.  :)
 
thank you for that reply. just to be sure, you mean 100-105 measured in F not C right?
 
what texture or properties do you use to determine that they are "fully dry"? when it breaks off rather than bends when you flex/bite it?
 
what temperature can render the seeds not viable? i definitely want to use these seeds to grow more ghosts next year.
 
(thank you also to bicycle808 for that piece of info regarding searching)
 
Most shoot for 100f or below. I do a little over.

They will be brittle when fully dehydrated.

When I dehydrate to make powder I take them off when they are brittle and grind them then dehydrate the powder again usually.
 

SmokenFire

Staff Member
Moderator
Business Member
Fahrenheit for sure.
 
Break rather than bend.
 
Any temps above 115 or 120 will harm seed viability.
 
As for seed viability, that's not really a concern me though. I deseed before dehydrating. Higher temps lead to a fading of color which is unappealing to me.
 
Time, for me depends on variety. More thicker peppers, like habs and manzanos, take more time, usually 24-36 hours, to get to the perfect "crunch". Thin walled peppers like my bird peppers will be done in as little as 12 hours.
 
I think that temperature setting issues are a bit overrated.
As experiment i've recently dried a bunch of bhuts and hybrids at temperatures ranging from 65 to 70C (149-158F) which is the max on my unit.
Even at the highest setting I've noticed neither color or flavor loss. It took 14 hours to dry them to a crunchy level.
I've not an external sensor to verify if the temperature readings of my machine are correct but i suggest you to put some test pods to full throttle and evaluate the results instead of waiting for days.
 
Datil
 
 
Any particular food dehydrators especially good for peppers? I saw some generic ones and others for fruit/veg, but I'm curious if anyone is especially happy with the ones they own... I'll probably be getting one to make powders in the next few months.
 
Thanks!
 

salsalady

Business Member
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